Be a Good Guest
Sounds like a Plan
Research on the internet, buy regional viewing guidebooks, talk with local residents and hire local guides to increase your chances of seeing marine wildlife.
Admire from Afar
Use binoculars, spotting scopes and cameras with zoom lenses to get a closer look. When marine wildlife looks at you, you are too close.
Keep Your Hands to Yourself
Never touch, handle, or ride marine wildlife. Touching wildlife, or attempting to do so, can injure the animal, put you at risk and may also be illegal for certain species. Some serious diseases can be transferred between humans, pets, and wildlife.
Keep Your Food to Yourself
Feeding or attempting to attract wildlife with food, decoys, sound or light disrupts normal feeding cycles, may cause sickness or death from unnatural or contaminated food items, and habituates animals to people.
Respect Their Personal Space
Following a wild animal that is trying to escape is dangerous. Never completely surround the animal, trap an animal between a vessel and shore, block its escape route, or come between mother and young. When viewing from a boat, go slow, move parallel to animals, and keep a respectful distance. The moment a wild animal notices you, you are too close!
Leave it to the Experts
Some marine animals, such as seals, leave the water or are exposed at low tide. Young animals that appear to be orphaned may actually be under the watchful eye of a nearby parent. An animal that is sick or injured may be more likely to bite. If you think an animal is in trouble, contact the local authorities for advice.
Wildlife and Pets are a Bad Match
Wild animals can injure and spread diseases to pets, and in turn, pets can harm and disturb wildlife. If you are traveling with a pet, always keep them on a leash and away from areas frequented by marine wildlife.
Don’t Trash Their Home
Human garbage is one of the greatest threats to marine wildlife. Carry a trash bag with you and pick up litter found along the shore and in the water. Plastic bags, floating debris and monofilament line pose the greatest risk to wildlife.
Be a Role Model
Speak up if you notice other viewers or tour operators behaving in a way that disturbs the wildlife or other viewers, or impacts sensitive habitats. Be friendly, respectful and discrete when approaching others. Lead by example. Violations of the law should be reported to local authorities.
Adapted from: https://sanctuaries.noaa.gov/protect/oceanetiquette.html
Notice the safe viewing distance when in winter 2019, elephant seals took over Drake's Beach at Pt. Reyes National Seashore.